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Groove metal
Stylistic origins Thrash metal, hardcore punk, heavy metal
Cultural origins 1989 c., United States and Brazil
Typical instruments Electric guitar - Bass guitar - Drums - Vocals
Mainstream popularity Moderate to high in the early–mid 1990s, low to moderate afterwards with some bands gaining mainstream attention.

Groove metal is a subgenre of heavy metal that emerged in the early 1990s. [1][2] The genre emerged in the early 1990s through albums such as Exhorder's Slaughter in the Vatican (1990) and Pantera's Cowboys from Hell (1990); [3] who first incorporated groove-based rhythms into thrash metal. But it was not until later albums like Exhorder's The Law (1992), Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power (1992), Sepultura's Chaos A.D. (1993), White Zombie's La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1 (1992), Overkill's I Hear Black (1993) and Machine Head's Burn My Eyes (1994) that groove metal took its pure form.[citation needed]



Early progenitors of the genre such as Exhorder, Pantera, Sepultura and White Zombie claim influence from their peers and contemporary thrash metal bands such as Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica, blues-laden traditional heavy metal such as Black Sabbath as well as hardcore punk bands such as Black Flag. [4][5]

Musical traits

Groove metal bands tend to play mid-tempo thrash riffs focusing on heaviness and groovy syncopation. [2][6] Guitarists generally play low syncopated power chord patterns and mid-paced guitar solos, and occasionally use heavy palm muting.

The tone is typically described as thick and mid-scooped down with boosted bass and trebles, usually under a harsh distortion. Solid state amplifiers using transistors are commonly used to gain this asymmetrical harmonic clipping sound, although tube amps are used sometimes as well. Like most other heavy metal bass styles, groove metal bass lines typically follow the rhythm guitar riffs but are sometimes used as introduction to a guitar riff or as intermezzi when the guitar riffs are de-emphasized. The use of bass distortion is common.

Vocals usually consist of thrash metal-styled shouts, hardcore-styled barks, and clean singing. Groove metal drums typically use double-bass drumming, with emphasis on using the double bass drum in waves. Uncommon time signatures and polyrhythms are typical for some bands; generally these bands put heavy emphasis on the changing beat. Groove metal typically follows in a medium tempo, [2] but can vary from band to band or song to song.

In 2009, James Minton of Terrorizer wrote that

Groove metal might be one of the more meaningless and deliberately derogatory genre descriptions, but if it exists Gallic heavyweights Gojira are the cream of the crop. Of course in reality Gojira are a death metal band with an ear for groove ... and groove metal should be reserved for Lamb of God and the rest of those engaged in Dimebag exhumation.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "((( Pantera > Biography )))". Retrieved 2009-02-11. 
  2. ^ a b c As a derivative of thrash metal, groove metal also drew influence from hardcore punk and traditional metal "EOL Audio v.8.0.". As a derivative of thrash metal, groove metal also drew influence from hardcore punk and traditional metal. Retrieved 2008-01-03. "Groove metal is a derivative (but not necessarily a sub-genre) of thrash metal that rose to prominence in the early 90s. It is based around a mid-tempo thrash riff and detuned power chords. The band responsible for inventing the style is much disputed, but bands such as Exhorder, Pantera, Sepultura and Machine Head have all made substantial contributions in terms of developing and popularising the style." 
  3. ^ "EXHORDER's fficial Status Is 'Permanently Disbanded' - May 10, 2006". Retrieved 2007-08-03. "Long-defunct New Orleans metallers EXHORDER — cited by many as the originators of the riff-heavy power-groove approach popularized by PANTERA" 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "The History of Metal". Retrieved 2007-08-03. "Pantera practically revolutionized thrash metal. Speed wasn’t the main point anymore, it was what singer Phil Anselmo called the "power groove." Riffs became unusually heavy without the need of growling or the extremely low-tuned and distorted guitars of death metal, rhythms depended more on a heavy groove" 
  7. ^ James Minton, "Retroaction," Terrorizer #189, October 2009, p. 74.


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